University of Southern California

Curriculum


Unlike traditional programs that present material through discrete courses and expect students to remember and integrate these materials themselves, the Marshall Executive MBA Program will continuously expose you to different aspects of the functional areas of business, always within the context of a broader, timeless theme that is pertinent to any company or industry.

The curriculum focuses on ten integrated themes that parallel managerial situations facing executives on a daily basis. Within a given theme, we carefully sequence class sessions to integrate the different functional areas that are relevant to the overall theme topic. Just like executives, who are judged on how the company fares overall under their direction, students receive a single grade for each theme.

The Marshall EMBA curriculum structure is one that also gives us greater flexibility to remain current with today's business environment. Because we're not locked into conventional courses, we're able to introduce new content as new developments emerge. By the end of the program, you will have covered all the material -- and more -- of a traditional program, but its relevance and application will be heightened substantially by how we present it (and how you learn it).

Year One


Year Two


Year One - Operations Focus

Theme I: Top Management Perspective

Helps you gain a greater appreciation for the variety of business issues facing senior executives today. Using lectures, discussion, case studies, and team projects, we introduce you to executive leadership issues, environmental and strategic issues, use of financial statements, organizational assessment and design, technology management and communications.

Theme II: Evaluating Market Performance

Focuses on the different disciplines and markets in which the modern firm must compete, including financial, product, and labor markets. Its purpose is to familiarize you with the interactions of these markets and the effect of managerial decisions on the performance of the firm and to provide you with the tools necessary to do an effective evaluation. Provides in-depth training in statistics for decision making.

Theme III: The General Manager as Integrator

Provides an advanced look at each of the major business disciplines and their respective organizational functions. We undertake a systematic study of the management of marketing, organizational structure, accounting, and finance. In contrast to Theme II, which focuses on an external evaluation of performance, Theme III considers the firm's performance from an internal perspective. You will gain tools necessary to streamline operations across functions.

Theme IV: Operations and Information Systems Management

Examines how operations and information technology are used in managing the operations function of a firm. We place special emphasis on understanding production processes and work flows and how contemporary concepts such as business process reengineering, total quality management, team production, and just-in-time production can be used to improve performance. We introduce you to work design, project management, and hands on communication tools.

Theme V: Building Communication Skills

Focuses on developing communication skills that are essential for a senior executive. The theme involves case studies, short projects and simulations to develop these skills. This is a short theme where the content is spread out through the other themes during the year.


Year Two - Strategic Focus

Theme VI: Environmental Analysis: Establishing Competitive Advantage

Focuses on globalization. The theme draws on macroeconomics and global strategy to establish a conceptual framework for understanding the rapid economic change taking place in the world today. The theme also deals with cultural and communication issues that arise in a global marketplace. The theme provides helpful preparation for the international trip in Theme VII.

Theme VII: Dynamics of Global Competition

Provides a first-hand exposure to the global marketplace. This six-day international residential experience focuses on the broad spectrum of issues behind conducting business effectively in a global market. We travel abroad, where we hold overseas classroom sessions. We visit local businesses and meet with executives of national, joint venture, and transnational corporations.

Theme VIII: Strategic Planning for Growth and Profitability

Focuses on obtaining and protecting market power through strategic management. We examine how firms have been able to generate and protect market power in the past, and how they will have to change to meet new demands. The theme integrates strategy and finance tools to provide an integrated approach to the creation of shareholder value. Teams work on a major strategy and finance (valuation) project throughout the theme. The project requires you to evaluate a firm or business transaction (i.e., merger, acquisition, or dissolution) and formally present your case analysis.

Theme IX: Managing Strategic Change and Implementation

Concentrates on the development of skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur or a leader in a large established organization. The theme deals with governance issues in large organizations and the problems encountered in starting and operating an entrepreneurial firm. You will develop assessments of your own capabilities and leadership skills and you will formulate an analysis of a new opportunity for which your skills are well suited.

Theme X: Executive of the Future

Focuses on career development and personal assessment. . You will be led through an assessment of your future goals and you will evaluate how your career plans fit with your goals. You will meet in teams with other participants, evaluate your management style, reflect on your career path, and update your career plans.

The Thematic Curriculum (1:38)

"The thematic curriculum is based on not just a specific vertical, but teaching you how to think across the horizontal."

Angela Zepeda
President, Managing Director
Lowe Campbell Ewald

Collaborative Study (1:26)

"The intellectual horsepower in our program was like none other. You’re really with people who are driven, self-motivated, experienced, bright, and just really put together. You quickly understand why they were in the positions that they were already in."

Troy Achong
Vice President, Organization Development & Training
Fox Entertainment Group